Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tweet, tweet






With apologies to The Playmates.

While riding in my Republic, what, to my surprise.
A little Snatch Grabber was following me, about one-third my size.
The guy must have wanted to feel me up
As he kept on tweeting his horn. Tweet, tweet!
I'll show him that a Republic is not a state to scorn.

Refrain:
Tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet.)
Tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet)
The Trump goes tweet, tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet.)

I pushed my vote to the primary to give this guy the curb,
But the little Snatch Grabber stayed behind; his caucus was superb.
He must have thought he had more time
As he kept on tweeting his horn. Tweet, tweet!
I'll show him that a Republic is not a state to scorn.

Tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet.)
Tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet)
The Trump goes tweet, tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet.)

My polls went up to 70%. I took off in disgust.
And soon I was past polling. The Trump left in the dust.
When I peaked in the basket of deplorables,
I couldn't believe my eyes.
The little Snatch Grabber was right behind, you'd think that guy could fly.

Tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet.)
Tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet)
The Trump goes tweet, tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet.)

Now we're up to two seventy, it certainly was a race.
For a Snatcher to pass a Republic would be a big disgrace.
For the guy who wanted to pass me,
He kept on tweeting his horn. Tweet! Tweet!
I'll show him that a Republic is not a state to scorn.

Tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet.)
Tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet)
The Trump goes tweet, tweet, tweet. (Tweet, tweet.)

Now we're up to November eighth, as fast as I could go.
The Grabber pulled alongside me as if I were too slow.
The fellow rolled his window down and yelled for me to hear,
Hey, Hillary, how can I get this campaign out of my career?

Tweet, tweet.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chronicles of a Baby Boomer - Tel



One weekend in Israel I got to do some archaeology. I got to work on a site on the ridge North of Jerusalem. It was a very old Iron Age settlement abandoned about 2500 years ago. The Iron Age started in the Mideast about 1000 BCE.

The site was on no major route. No highway. No strategic or valuable location. No army or conquering force would pass this way. It was just in the middle of nowhere, on top of a hill (or 'Tel.') There was little water, no great soil, and no reason why anyone would want to live there. Probably why it was abandoned. But it did offer some benefits, for the archaeologist. It hadn't been disturbed in two and a half millennia. No pesky later ruins on top to pollute the dig.

So I dug. The lead archaeologist brought me to a spot to work on. I had my trowel. I had my brush. I had my whip, just in case.

I was to gently dust off 2500 years of crumble looking for some sign of humans. Not actual humans. But anything that looked artificial and therefore representing human activity. You can tell it when you see it. There's a geometry to Man that Nature lacks. Or abhors.

I had a wheel barrow to carry off the non human dust and send it off the edge of a cliff. Hopefully not on any other archaeological remains they might like to excavate some time in the future.

So I worked, separating thousand year old stone dust from the layers below. Given enough time it would all turn back into stone. So would we. And I loaded up the wheel barrow. And trudged it to the cliff edge and dumped it down the Iron Age hill.

I found something. I came to a ring of stones, 2500 years down and about 40 cm. in diameter. I cleaned up as much as I could then got the boss.

I had no idea what I had found. Maybe an altar? A place for household gods and protection talismans? A family shrine? Maybe people ripped out other peoples' hearts here! Wouldn't that be cool!?

Indy, that's what I decided to call him, came and looked at what I had found. It was an oven, he said. The stones were a foundation. Clay would have been formed over it and built up into a dome with a front opening into the house. I was in someone's home. Someone's kitchen. Or maybe their whole house.

I was happy. I liked this better. Better than the penny dreadful, temple of doom, god room I had envisioned. After all, someone has to clean up after sacrifices. This was better.

This was a human place. Not a place of gods. A place where a family gathered 2500 years ago and cooked food. A mother cooked. A father brought in hard won provisions. Children played. There was laughter. There was hardship. There was joy.

I like this archaeology. I like this family.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Negotiation



Let's say you were the world's greatest diplomat. Let's say you could enter any negotiation and always get everything you want. You are a champion of justice? You got it. You are in favor of civil rights? No problem. You have a body of downcast people you represent? And you want to protect them? You're there.

You've got it. You're perfect.

No matter who you come up against, you prevail. When you go to negotiate with someone, and say, "I have these demands, 1, 2, 3... 10," and your partner says, "I have these demands, 1, 2, 3...10." You get them all. No, "Let's compromise. What will you drop and what will I drop? How will we negotiate?" No. You get it all. You're the great negotiator! You never betray your morals!

You see, in diplomacy there is always give and take. Always something that is a betrayal. Always a compromise. Always. We, here, in the trenches can look to our leaders and say, "Traitors! You betrayed us here! And here!" And we're right. They always betray their own folk, here and here. They can't help it. They have to. That's what it means to be diplomatic. To give in order to get. To betray one side in order to benefit another. To be a traitor. A moving traitor. That's a diplomat. A moving traitor. Just make their treachery worse than ours. Or make our two gains better than our loss. And call it a win for all.

But what's the alternative? Suppose you were the perfect diplomat. Suppose you could always get your way. Always promote your cause. Always stand for justice and refuse to bow down to compromise. Suppose you never had to put up with the diplomat dance of, "Who will I screw now to make sure someone doesn't get screwed later?" Suppose you could just be Superman and fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way?

Every time you engage in diplomatic relations you win. Every time you raise one banner or another for human rights and freedom, you prevail. Every time you are asked to compromise your values you refuse. You are adamant. You are righteous. You are victorious. You are the champion of your people.

What would you call that?

A success?

A brilliant negotiator?

I would call that a dictator.

Be careful what you wish for.

Monday, January 9, 2017

High and Dry




I remember an old circus act and popular attraction involving public officials. It’s the water dunk! You certainly know. Someone sits on a platform over a tank of water in the midway part of a country fair. You pay for three shots at a target. If you hit it, he goes into the water. Good natured public officials will go along with the public humiliation as it is usually for a good cause. The library or fire department. Everyone thinks it’s fun.

Circuses do this purely for the cash. There is no ‘good natured’ about it. So they have a different strategy. The carny sitting on the wet seat taunts passersby. He makes insulting comments about people and taunts them, usually with a repeated phrase, “High and dry. Look at me. I’m high and dry. Can anybody touch me? Nope. Nobody has yet.” Of course he is trying to draw in the mark. He is playing some visceral game with a combination of taunting, insulting, and insolence. 

"Look at me! You can’t touch me!" Of course you can. For only a dollar. You get to play out a mini morality play where they are the serpent and you are St. Michael. Instead of swords your weapons are tennis balls. Instead of vanquishment, your quest is immersion. A play in three acts. Introduction, challenge, victory. Then, when the mark succeeds in hitting the target, the carny simply resets the seat, climbs back up, and resumes his chirping of, “High and dry!” The play begins again.

It occurred to me that this is what the Internet troll does. Their carny chant is to taunt, insult, and make groundless statements while dismissing anything you might say. It doesn’t matter if you have facts which can be substantiated by vetted, credible sources. It doesn’t matter if you state that you are willing to engage in a respectful dialog with the free exchange of ideas and opinions.

Nope. All you will get is, “High and dry!” They will simply ignore anything you say, accuse you of wearing a tin foil hat (they seem to have an unnatural fetish for metal headgear) and mumble something like, “Well. I can only give you the facts so many times! I won’t listen to your conspiracy theories!” High ground retaken. High and dry.

No matter how many times they are dunked in the cesspool of their own specious reasoning, they always pop back up, covered in their own shit, and insist that they are, ‘High and dry.’

Don’t feed the trolls.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Never Mind





Never mind that the Democratic National Committee was shown to be a corrupt organization that willfully sabotaged the campaign of Bernie Sanders in favor of their favorite, Hillary.

Never mind that the emails weren’t ‘hacked.’ They were leaked by a disgruntled DNC employee who was disgusted with how things were being run. All these CIA alleged claims are just smoke and mirrors.

Never mind that this is a crisis of confidence. Confidence in our democracy. In our party system. In our government. A vote for Trump was a vote against the Washington establishment. A vote against us. A vote thrown in our smug faces.

Never mind that Vladimir Putin asked if the US was a ‘banana republic’ that it could so easily be manipulated? Maybe he did us a favor, reporting what our media surrendered long ago.

Never mind, for that matter, that we routinely manipulate, overthrow, Color Revolt, and in any way possible, circumvent the governments of every country we can, up to and including total destruction. Never mind. It’s OK when we do it.

Russia did it. Lucifer Ras-Putin! Good. We can now never mind our own failings! What’s not your fault you need not fix.

But I have to wonder. What did we do wrong? We, the liberal elite? The coastal elite who think we know so much and have a mandate to rule? Well, the ruled ruled otherwise. And do we question ourselves? Do we ask the hard questions and practice self-examination? Do we ask what did we get wrong? How could we have addressed our opponents honestly without name calling and insults? Where do we go from here? No?

Never mind.